Just because our strengths as introverts aren’t always obvious doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that we shouldn’t use them.
The biggest challenge of my adult life has been learning to stop trying to be an extrovert. I tried hard to erase my introverted self so it would not stop me from getting left behind in life. Then I realized what a futile act that was, not only for myself, but for others, as well.
It’s like expecting a hibiscus plant to suddenly bloom roses, just because roses are more common. It was like I decided being an extrovert was “safer” and more acceptable, at least according to societal norms and for my personal growth. But no personal growth is possible when you desert your true self.
So, here’s how to stop trying to be an extrovert, and instead, embrace your introversion.
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How to Stop Trying to Be an Extrovert
1. Stop doing activities that are supposed to make you happy, but do not actually make you happy.
Every friend of mine loves a weekend visit to the mall and leaving with bags full of clothes. For a long time, I also tried to be that person, drawn to the alluring hobby of consumerism.
But every time I shopped for a new shirt or accessory I didn’t need — in a super crowded mall, no less — instead of making me happy or fulfilled, it would make me think more about not handling my finances properly. I don’t know about others, but shopping for ultra-expensive clothes every weekend will never make me happy. (And neither will doing so among a bunch of strangers!)
I would much prefer creating a beautiful piece of art or even singing my heart out. And having control over your weekend is something that is of utmost importance to us introverts.
So I stopped wishing that certain activities, like shopping, would give me as much joy as it seemed to give other people. Because I realized my introversion, like every other thing on this planet, comes with its own joy, as well as challenges, and it’s my job to listen to its wants and needs.
2. Stop trying so hard to fit in.
As an introvert, I have often felt as though I didn’t fit in. Can you relate?
Not fitting in made me want to try harder, like practicing my social skills and trying to be an extrovert. I figured then my life would become easier.
But I realized the hard way that you are not truly living if you are not aligned with yourself. In the process of trying so hard, I was not getting what I wanted, but instead, I even lost what I already had, along with my peace.
Sure, faking extroversion for one, two, or three job interviews or meetings might lead me to get that job — but that job will never really align with me. Opportunities will truly flow only when we let go of our misaligned expectations.
Now I realize it is okay if the requirements of a certain job do not exactly match my personality. There are plenty of jobs out there, and what is meant for me will always always find its way. For you, too.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
3. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
As human beings, many of us have this attitude of always wanting something better — a job that pays twice as much, more friends, and so on. Sadly, I think some of us introverts tend to focus on our negative traits because of the misconceptions out there about introverts: how we supposedly don’t like people or want to stay home all the time.
For example, even if we have amazing listening and writing skills, initially, people may look at our verbal communication skills and judge us based on those. It’s happened to me. People won’t seem to like me at first, but once they get to know me, they seem surprised by my capabilities.
Just because our strengths as introverts aren’t obvious doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that we shouldn’t use them. Choose to focus on your strengths, and you’ll start to appreciate and embrace your introversion even more.
4. Everything (and everyone) is not for everybody.
You might not have 10 friends to go out with every night, but the three friends you are the closest with, the ones who “get” you, are enough to keep you happy. Similarly, you might not go to the movies every weekend, but your collection of books is impressive.
Realize that the glamorous life that you see some extroverts having might not be as glamorous in reality. What makes others happy might not make you happy. Point being, focus on your own happiness instead of society telling you what “should” make you happy.
5. Question societal norms and live by your own norms instead.
Society seems to have a perfect formula for happiness: Study hard, get good grades, get a high-paying job, get married, have kids, and your life is set. You will be happy forever if you follow these guidelines… Right?
If the above was the case, the word “unhappiness” would cease to exist in the dictionary. Life does not come with a user manual like that. Much of our unhappiness is born from a place of conflict between society’s expectations and our current situation, even if that situation is out of our control.
For me, it gets draining to constantly try to make people understand the life choices I have made; sometimes I even wonder why the things that make other people happy do not make me as happy. The truth is, it’s okay if we all define happiness differently. As long as I know where my happiness lies, and I have clarity about how to obtain it, I will continue to be fine. And so will you.
Have you ever faked being an extrovert? How so? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
You might like:
- The Extrovert Ideal Isn’t the Only Way of Existing
- How I Stopped Faking It and Embraced My Introversion
- 8 Confessions of an Introvert Living in a World Made for Extroverts
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